It’s often humbling to remember that for as long as man has been on this earth we’ve known full well how to enter the snowman. Here’s an example from shortly afterward, in 1966, when adorable brother and sister duo Nino Tempo and April Stevens put out this gem for the Scopitone:
The Scopitone is a fascinating Kromagg of entertainment technology, a sort of a ‘jukebox for your eyes’ for which early music videos were specifically produced. Imagine your oven was your iPod, and instead of cooking your dinner it screened what were often, it seems, ramped-up Technicolor titty-shows shot by turmeric-addled Munchkins.
Of course, some Scopitone videos are safe, and all of them are of their time and can’t quickly be criticized from the ‘safe distance’ that today might afford. Many, however, are salaciously offensive, and veritable sourcebooks for bad taste.
I’m not exactly sure why I love old, flawed representation so much, and I’m not sure what that might mean. But there’s a genuine joy to this stuff.
Take our plume de nom:
So they’re dancing sitting down and you start to wonder, ‘Maybe they’ve got massive spinal damage’ (corroborating example here). Then you realize the pre-show banter probably went something like this:
Munchkin Mayor: You got your thousand dances memorized?
April: A thousand? You told us five hundred last week!
Munchkin Mayor: Maybe I did, Doll. Welcome to showbiz.
Nino: That’s OK, April! we’ll double them by sitting down!
Lo, half-way through the set we’re overcome by a Hokusai-wave of Orientalism and leap to our feet. It’s true, Nino still dances a bit like a neckless Tyrannosaurus, but with the frantically-dancing girls in cages — wait, wait — wait —
Again, let’s keep in mind that this is not an isolated case; this kind of de facto sexism is just as evident in music videos (for one iotic drop of an example) today if you *GASP!* actually notice. It makes you think, nonetheless, how Ms. Stevens must have felt on set — or, with any luck, how M. Tempo must have felt when heckling the birds.
It doesn’t matter; the women have long since twirled off their Japonaiserie to reveal sailor scanties.
Indeed, there’s such an attentional bias to white flesh in these things that you wonder why they invested in the colour technology at all.
*drops submarine back into water*